By Sarah Saeed
Balochistan is the least populous province in Pakistan yet has the greatest area. It has a lot of natural resources, including its extensive coastline, minerals, wind energy, and natural gas.
Additionally, it is strategically placed at the intersection of important commercial routes that link Pakistan with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Persian Gulf. A rare opportunity exists for Balochistan to grow into a center of economic activity and prosperity for Balochistan’s future generations as a result of the construction of Gwadar Port as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Port City of Gwadar’s primary and most important stakeholders are its residents. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative believes that Gwadar Port would be crucial to the growth of the Balochistan province. Gwadar, which is to be built as a significant deep-sea port, is strategically situated on the Arabian Sea coast in Balochistan.
A new spatially anchored, data-driven, inclusive development paradigm is required for the province. The geographical and physical characteristics of Balochistan, such as its sparse population, challenging geography, urbanization trends, and regional disparities, should be taken into consideration in such a framework. Additionally, it ought to make use of its comparative advantages, including its natural resources, advantageous position, and cultural variety.
While Gwadar and CPEC provide Balochistan with tremendous development prospects, it is crucial to make sure that these advantages are inclusive and sustainable and take into account the wants and requirements of the surrounding populations. Under the CPEC framework, the Pakistani government and pertinent stakeholders are cooperating to promote the equitable and balanced development of Balochistan. Pakistan is becoming an export-oriented nation thanks to the establishment of the North and South Gwadar Free Zones. with the goal of exporting to foreign states and developing into a highly effective export-oriented nation in the global trade environment. The Gwadar Free Zones also offer services for the provision of commercial goods and manufactured goods to the regional markets.
The first export endeavor from Gwadar Port involves the trade-in of copper and gold from RekoDiq, which helps Balochistan’s economic condition. The goal of RekoDiq development and generating revenue is to use Gwadar Port to monitor the shipment of gold and copper. Over the next several years, $7 billion will be invested in the mine by Barrick Gold Company, which contains the greatest untapped copper-gold resources in the world. By generating jobs, advancing the local economy, and expanding investments in food security, health care, education, and vocational training, the initiative will provide Balochistan with enormous growth potential. In the first four years, the corporation will invest $4 billion, and in the next six years, $3 billion. The project would generate 12000 indirect employments in addition to 8000 direct job possibilities for skilled and unskilled workers. Additionally, there are benefits associated with the creation of new infrastructure, such as enhanced connectivity and the growth of trade corridors.
By enhancing the technical aspects of commerce passing through Gwadar Port, the e-Custom System will turn it into a highly functional technological Port. The Gwadar Port will see increased commercial activity thanks to web-based customs (WeBOC), which will also speed up industrialization and logistic services. technical knowledge in the areas of precision mechanics, instrument technology, and die and mould methods through the development of vocational training in a variety of engineering disciplines. Multiple communities will be hosted in the international city of Gwadar, where inhabitants’ political rights will need to be regulated. Under the CPEC, the federal government is giving the youth of Balochistan, particularly those in Gwadar, more possibilities to obtain a contemporary education and technical skills. For the education and skill development of the Baloch people, three technical and vocational training facilities are operating in Gwadar: Gwadar Institute of Technology, and Pak-China Technical and Vocational Training Institute Gwadar.
The security forces are one of the most important players in keeping peace and stability in the province when it comes to the issues encountered by Balochistan, particularly in terms of foreign and internal turmoil.They have also helped the province develop through a variety of projects, including the construction of roads, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure; the provision of health care, education, and vocational training; the support of local communities and entrepreneurs; and the facilitation of humanitarian aid and disaster relief. In this way, the security forces have shown their dedication and ability as a force for good in Balochistan. They have helped the province’s socioeconomic growth in addition to ensuring its security and stability. They have also promoted a sense of ownership and engagement among the local communities and established trust and confidence among them. They have demonstrated that Balochistan is a province with promise and potential rather than issues and difficulties.
The federal government of Pakistan and the Pakistani security forces’ steadfast effort and commitment are reflected in the favorable advances in Balochistan. The security forces have put in countless hours to hunt down terrorists and militants, and they have made great strides in enhancing the quality of life for Balochis in Balochistan. Balochistan’s progress has also been made possible by the local populace’s support. Baloch citizens have demonstrated their support for the security forces and have been assisting in community reconstruction.